10 November 2007

Chicken Hygeine

The Cottage Smallholder » "How do I keep my chickens clean?" is a great post about Chicken Hygiene!  Chickens are simply not very clean animals.  It's OK up to a point to justify some of their habits by rationalising, "Well, there's no sense applying human standards to other animals."  Mountain Gorillas, for instance,  die if they don't eat each others' shit, since that's how they share certain enzymes vital to their digestive systems.1

Chicken Mites are a real bugger and get out of hand really fast in warm weather.  I detest using poisons, so dealing with Mites was a real dilemma for me for a long time, until The Lightbulb Moment a few years ago.  Now, about four times a year, I clear out the bedding and crap from the chookhouse, and then take a blowtorch to all the surfaces (especially perches.)  Works like a bomb2 and kills all bugs and their egss, provided I play the flame back and forth over each area for a while and let it get good and hot.  Occasionally I get a bit too enthusiastic and manage to scorch the wood a little, but usually there's no problem.

Speaking of which, its probably time I cleaned out the chicken house again this weekend...

[1] I read it somewhere.  What is this? Wikipedia? The Spanish Inquisition?

[2] ...visions of broken bits of chookhouse flying through the air...

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